Guv finds long term solution to Bantayan power problem

Governor Hilario P. Davide III will form a committee to lead the search for a long term solution to Bantayan Island’s power problem.

The technical working committee will be composed of different sectors in the island.

Provincial Board Member Celestino Martinez III said he will also pass a resolution for the creation of a committee on energy at the provincial board.

The power situation in the island is now normalized unless the power generators conk out again.

Governor Davide encouraged resort operators to invest in solar panels amidst the island’s power woes and its increasing power demand.

The governor met the island’s power sector, businessmen, residents, and local officials at the town of Santa Fe on March 1. Department of Energy (DOE) 7 Director Antonio Labios also attended the meeting.

Among the long term solutions considered during the meeting was the establishment of solar power source.

Madridejos municipal Mayor Salvador Dela Fuente said they are willing to use its almost two (2) hectare land for solar panels. He said the property was donated by a businessman.

Another alternative is the installation of submarine cable that would connect the island to the Visayas grid. However, Gov. Davide this would require a feasibility study.

The DOE suggested for the province of Cebu to propose a resolution to the power subcommittee of Regional Development Council 7 for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to conduct the feasibility study.

Apolinario Saso Jr. , vice president, Bantayan Island Power Corporation (Bipcor) assured that there will be no more brownouts in the island. However, the power situation is still critical since Bipcor has no cold reserve.

Bipcor has five diesel generators, which produces 7.7 MW. However, three of its major units simultaneously conked out that resulted to power shortage in the island since last week. The three units have a net dependable capacity of 6.9 MW while the power demand in the island is 4.2 MW at peak hours.

Hence, if one of the main engines conks out, Bipcor would have no reserve power. “That is what I mean when I say our power supply is critical, it is the insufficient or the low cold reserve,” Sosa said.

However, Sosa stated they have already purchased an actuator from the United Kingdom for their 2.7 MW engine. It is expected to arrive on March 3 in Manila. Normally it takes 3 or 5 days before the port authorities release the item.

Gov. Davide assured BIPCOR that he will help facilitate with the Bureau of Customers for the immediate release of the actuator.

Taking into consideration the urgency of the situation, Gov. Davide said he will also help convince the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to allow Bipcor to directly negotiate with Bantayan Electric Cooperative (BANELCO) a power supply contract for additional 2.5 MW.

Earlier, NEA told BANELCO to bid out any new additional power supply contract.

According to Engr. Lee Rivera, Bantayan Electric Cooperative (BANELCO) general manager, this is needed for them to meet the island’s increasing power  demand. Bantayan Island’s power demand increases at an average of 4% annually.

Businessmen and other stakeholders who attended the meeting expressed the importance of stable power and welcomed the intervention of the government to address their situation.